OBJECTIVE: To collect information on factors that affect the time period from the onset of symptoms to first contact with health care providers, whether private or government.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study using a pre-tested questionnaire was conducted among 296 newly registered smear-positive TB patients in 10 districts in Sabah. Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to determine which risk factors were associated with patient delay (>30 days) and 'extreme' patient delay (>90 days).
RESULTS: The percentage of patients who sought treatment after 30 and 90 days was respectively 51.8% (95%CI 45.7-57.9) and 23.5% (95%CI 18.6-29.0). The strongest factors associated with patient delay and 'extreme' patient delay was when the first choice for treatment was a non-government health facility and in 30-39-year-olds. 'Extreme' patient delay was also weakly associated, among other factors, with comorbidity and livestock ownership.
CONCLUSION: Delay and extreme delay in seeking treatment were more common when the usual first treatment choice was a non-government health facility. Continuous health education on TB aimed at raising awareness and correcting misconceptions is needed, particularly among those who use non-government facilities.
OBJECTIVE: To obtain population-based data on Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug resistance in Pakistan.
METHODS: To obtain drug resistance data, we conducted a population-based study of TB cases in all provinces of Pakistan. We performed culture and drug susceptibility testing on M. tuberculosis isolates from patients with a prior history of anti-tuberculosis treatment (retreatment cases) from all over the country.
RESULTS: Of 544 isolates from previously treated cases, 289 (53.1%) were susceptible to all first-line drugs, 255 (46.9%) were resistant to at least one anti-tuberculosis drug and 132 (24.3%) were MDR-TB. Among MDR-TB isolates, 47.0% were ofloxacin (OFX) resistant. Extensively drug-resistant TB was found in two (0.4%) isolates.
CONCLUSION: Prevalence of drug resistance in retreatment isolates was high. The alarmingly high prevalence of OFX resistance among MDR-TB isolates may threaten the success of efforts to control and treat MDR-TB.